Millions of travelers cross borders everyday, many of them are dual citizens. Dual citizens are entitled to dual passports and it is quite common using multiple passports to cross borders, reaching country A to country B through a third country C.

Traveling with one or more passports is quite common and thousands of people do it every day and there is nothing to be afraid of, as long you keep the following important points in mind (see below).

The Key is presenting the right passport

The ability to cross borders using two passports depends on whether you come from a country where dual citizenship is allowed or not.

1. Dual Citizenship Allowed

If your country allows dual citizenship, things get much easier, you can fly directly from country A to country B without transiting. For example Nigerians cannot travel to UK or Russia using nigerian passport. Nigeria allows dual citizenship, so nigerian citizens having Grenada, Dominica (CBI passport) can travel directly from Nigeria to UK using CBI passports without going through a neutral country

2. Dual Citizenship NOT Allowed

Things get complicated if your country do not allow dual citizenship and you are prohibited carrying two passports. You should not disclose two passports as it makes it illegal.

Use of dual passport works best, if you travel through a neutral third country, eg Dubai, Istanbul, Hong Kong etc. where you can swap passports. The third country used for transit, should be a visa free country or if you already have a visa, e-visa, residence permit etc.  More and more countries are moving towards evisas (eg. New Zealand, Turkey etc). It makes even easier if you use automatic e-gates where you dont get stamps in passport.

Rules to Follow

These are the rules you must follow and using the right passport is important.

  • Citizens must use the same passport for entry and exit. For example, US citizens who are dual nationals must use US passport to enter and exit US, likewise UK citizens must use UK passport to enter and exit UK borders.
  • Countries which do not permit dual citizenship, do not allow traveling or holding multiple passports. Instead you must present a visa or residence permit to exit country. Be aware some countries have exit checks (India, China), in this case it is advantageous if you present a visa or e-visa, residence permit or permanent residence card.
  • You must register the right passport through airlines too. Airlines manually check passport and visa data before boarding. Passport data presented to immigration authorities and airlines have different purposes. Airlines do share their passenger manifests with the immigration authorities of the destination country, which is another good reason that the passport you show on arrival should match up with the one you showed at the gate.

Citizenship by Investment

If you apply for Citizenship by investment (CBI) scheme, always ask for permanent residence card or residence card, so that you dont need show your second CBI passport when traveling, that is where dual citizenship is prohibited. You can just show your PR card or residence permit along with your home passport to reach country A to country B directly without going through third country. Many CBI countries offer you permanent residence card if you buy a real estate or rent a house to live.

It really does not make sense, applying for a CBI passport if you dont know how to use it properly.

Just Remember

Remember: If you have a visa in your passport, you must use that passport to enter a country., even if you have a second passport that has visa waiver entry.

You also should be aware of:

  • Modern passports hold biometric data providing strong security, it is possible immigration officers know about passports with different nationalities.
  • The place of birth field never changes no matter how many countries you have.
  • If you lose your passport from a common wealth country, seek consular assistance. If embassy or consulate not available, you can seek emergency assistance from a commwealth country.
  • Some countries like Russia, South Africa require you to report if you become a dual citizen in a foreign country.


Important disclaimer: The above information is not official advice only for knowledge purpose. Travel requirements for crossing borders through land, sea  are different. Please consult with the foreign office or embassy before the trip to make sure you satisfy all requirement.